Outreach programmes to attract girls into computing: how the best laid plans can sometimes fail

Lang, Catherine, Fisher, Julie, Craig, Annemieke and Forgasz, Helen 2015, Outreach programmes to attract girls into computing: how the best laid plans can sometimes fail, Computer science education, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 257-275, doi: 10.1080/08993408.2015.1067008.

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Title Outreach programmes to attract girls into computing: how the best laid plans can sometimes fail
Author(s) Lang, Catherine
Fisher, Julie
Craig, AnnemiekeORCID iD for Craig, Annemieke orcid.org/0000-0003-4295-7428
Forgasz, Helen
Journal name Computer science education
Volume number 25
Issue number 3
Start page 257
End page 275
Total pages 19
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1744-5175
0899-3408
Keyword(s) gender
computing
secondary education
teachers’ technical self-efficacy
Summary This article presents a reflective analysis of an outreach programme called the Digital Divas Club. This curriculum-based programme was delivered in Australian schools with the aim of stimulating junior and middle school girls’ interest in computing courses and careers. We believed that we had developed a strong intervention programme based on previous literature and our collective knowledge and experiences. While it was coordinated by university academics, the programme content was jointly created and modified by practicing school teachers. After four years, when the final data were compiled, it showed that our programme produced significant change to student confidence in computing, but the ability to influence a desire to pursue a career path in computing did not fully eventuate. To gain a deeper insight in to why this may be the case, data collected from two of the schools are interrogated in more detail as described in this article. These schools were at the end of the expected programme outcomes. We found that despite designing a programme that delivered a multi-layered positive computing experience, factors beyond our control such as school culture and teacher technical self-efficacy help account for the unanticipated results. Despite our best laid plans, the expectations that this semester long programme would influence students’ longer term career outcomes may have been aspirational at best.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/08993408.2015.1067008
Field of Research 080699 Information Systems not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 939904 Gender Aspects of Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30074747

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics
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